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Ask Dimitry K., Esq. Your Own Question
Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Licensed in multiple jurisdictions, experienced business attorney.
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My husband worked until he was about 40 and then was given

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My husband worked until he was about 40 and then was given complete disability for a mental illness. We are still married although we have been separated for about 15 years. I will be 62 next year and have continued working making much more than he ever made. Can I collect on his SS if we remain married and when could I do this?

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

You have the ability to retire starting at 62, but then your benefit would be lessened. To obtain full benefits you would need to retire at 66.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

When you choose to seek benefits, you will have the choice of either pursuing your full benefits, or 50% of the benefit that your spouse obtained, as you have been legally married for over 10 years.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

You cannot receive both benefits together--this is an 'either/or' situation.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

That is why I am not sure if going after his benefits may be wise--if you earned more yourself, your own benefit may be bbetter

Dimitry K., Esq. :

*better

Customer:

But if I collect on his benefits at 62 will I still have the right to collect on my benefits at 66. I would like to retire next year and need to know if I can collect on his benefit until I am 66.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

No, you would not.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Once you start collecting on any benefit, your ability is frozen.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

You can only elect to pursue benefits once.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

So if you choose to go after his benefits at 62, likewise your own benefits stop accruing.

Customer:

I guess I was confused by the fact that I have friends that are collecting their deceased ex-husbands benefits until they turn 66 and start collecting on their own. I thought it applied to both living and deceased spouses.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

That is a different benefit, that is a death benefit that is not calculated toward retirement.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

It is not a pension, hence it is treated differently.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

But if you both are still living, that means that you both are still able to work, so the benefit is not provided.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

So I can only collect mine or his - but not one for a time period and then the other one. Is that correct? And since I make alot more $$ then I should collect on mine and best at age 66.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

That is correct

Dimitry K., Esq. :

That is correct on both points

Customer:

OK - thanks.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

You are most welcome. Is there anything else I can assist you with at this time?

Dimitry K., Esq. and other Social Security Specialists are ready to help you